If you have been reading this site for awhile you might have noticed that I am very careful to refer to the on-chain Chia pooling protocol using NFT plots as the “on-chain pooling protocol” and not as the “official pooling protocol” like other folks do, including miningpoolstats and Chia Network themselves. Why?
Well, first off because if this is really a decentralized blockchain then nothing is official. The Chia blockchain is not, or at least should not, be controlled by Chia Network. If it is then it isn’t a decentralized project, its a private blockchain. And using the metric of decentralized usage, Hpool’s closed source pooling protocol could also be considered “official” seeing as how there still more users of that protocol than the on-chain one.
The second reason is that it isn’t necessarily the last pooling protocol developed by Chia Network. I can’t imagine they will want to pour this much effort into pooling again, but there is nothing stopping them from doing so. If a better, more efficient method is developed maybe that becomes the new “official” pooling protocol. Or maybe both of them are. The reason I mention this is because there are some interesting possibilities of integrating light weight Chia farms into pre-assembled machines and that would require a different pooling protocol to make it lightweight enough. I do see them developing something like this and selling the service as a possibility once they are moving into enterprise partnerships.
The third reason is that its not precise enough for me. If the reference code that Chia Network released ahead of the Chia 1.2.0 release is “official”, and pools using it are using the “official pooling protocol” then what is FlexPool doing? My understanding is that they have rewritten the entire stack themselves from the ground up based on their experience running their Ethereum pool. Their pooling protocol is definitely on-chain and uses the same NFTs, but is it the “official protocol” the same as Chia Network released? I don’t know, so its easier to avoid the question. What about Foxypool that took big portions of the reference code and used it to create their OG pools? From a line-of-code perspective they might be using more of the reference code than FlexPool but definitely aren’t using anything official. What about Hpool’s new on-chain pool that still requires their closed source software? See?
What Chia Network released was a reference implementation for an on-chain pooling protocol and pools were free to use as much or none of it as they wished. I talked to enough of them to know for sure that Chia Network was not pressuring or forcing any of them into doing anything. They wrote it, they released it and they supported it and from their perspective it might be official, but if someone else were to do the same thing but better with a different protocol I don’t think they would life a finger to stop it. I also don’t think what is official to a private company in California should matter much to a diverse global community like Chia.
So that’s pretty much why I think the protocol needs a name, or a designation of some sort, to avoid possible confusion down the line. Until then I will continue to avoid calling it official unless they brand it Chia Official Pooling Protocol, and even then I’ll probably grumble about it. If you disagree please let me know and maybe I change my mind.